Potential Work-Around For Linking to DevonThink Pro Entries

I’m so close to a work-around for effectively linking individual DevonThink Pro entries, I could scream. Let me list the steps I’ve taken and perhaps we could have a group think on this.

Part of my novel takes place in Vancouver. Accordingly I have a lot of multimedia research on that city stored in DevonThink Pro. After finding out that linking to DT Pro entries from Scrivener was currently impossible, I dug in. Here’s what I did:

There is a JPG of the Vancouver skyline in DT Pro, by contextually clicking on it, I can reveal it the Finder–which shows the graphic tucked away in the DT Pro database for my novel.

I did a contextual click on the already-selected graphic in the database and used FilePathToClip, a contextual menu add-on I’ve used for years. This determines the path to the graphic in DT Pro database.

The file path looks like this:

/Users/kevin/Desktop/Formal Absence (Novel) Folder/Formal Absence Database.dtBase/Files/vancouver.sized.jpg

I tried pasting this into a new Scrivener reference, but Scrivener wouldn’t recognize it as a valid link. Damn, damn, damn, etc.

But get this, if I paste the same file path into NoteShare (another tool in the workflow for my book) and tell NoteShare it’s a webpage, it opens perfectly in that app, even though the graphic is stored in the DT Pro database.

The point’s this: Lurking below both Scrivener and NoteShare is our old buddy, the WebKit. If the AquaMinds folks can get the WebKit to successfully recognize and disply links to the DT Pro database, why can’t Scrivener with a tad of tweaking? (Yeah , I know–Keith tweaking for Leopard comes first; but is this eventually possible?)

If Scrivener could be made to recognize file paths into the DT Pro database as valid links, then there might be some impetus script a workflow that would basically automate what I did manually:

  1. Display in DT Pro entry in Finder (using a custom-assigned key combo in contextual menu)

  2. Evoke FilePathToClip in contextual menu (using a custom-assigned key comb in contextual)

After that, one simply pastes the file path into a Scrivener reference and, upon clicking, the DT Pro entry is displayed in Safari.

What’s am I not seeing here, if anything? While DT Pro’s eventual auto creation of file paths to individual entries will be much less arduous than what I’ve outlined here, my need is unfortunately immediate.

Thoughts? Mocking of a writer who’d not a programmer? Or better ideas? Any or all comments accepted.

With a little more coffee, here’s the immediate, pricey, obvious solution–insert Noteshare between Scrivener. NoteShare creates Scrivener Reference-friendly links. NoteShare can display most types of DT Pro entries (although, as Katherine points out in another post, not DT Pro-created RTF documents).

Effectively you have chain of links rather than duplicate files taking up space. I plan on experimenting this.

Hi Kevin,

Interesting! Yeah, you would think there’d be a way this could work more directly. I know in the future, the Devon folks are planning an upcoming upgrade to DT Pro that will make this issue disappear, since files will be stored in a way that can be accessed. But as you said, your need is immediate! After the weekend revisions (dissertation) are over, I will definitely give this a shot and see if anything more comes of it. I doubt I’ll have any improvements to offer, not being any kind of programmer myself! But maybe it will get some of us DT/Scr. folks working on it who will have some new ideas!

Alexandria

My approach, once I’ve Revealed a DT file in the Finder, is to create an alias to it, and drag the alias out of DT entirely. Scrivener seems able to work with the alias exactly as with the original file, so I can import it, link to it, or whatever I need.

I would advise only using this trick for reference files that you don’t intend to change. DT explicitly warns against editing DT database files with other programs. For files that you need to edit, you’re probably better off giving Scrivener its own copy. Or else using DT’s index function to bring the file in in the first place, which keeps the file out in the “open” where any program can get at it.

Katherine

Important addenda to my proposed workflow–Oddly the same copy of Scriviener recognizes the entry level-URLs produced by an older copy of NoteTaker/Noteshare, but with an updated copy of the AquaMinds application, the created URLs are not recognized. I believe the term is Arrrrrrghhhhh!

Below is an excerpt of an email sent to AquaMinds about the problem. I include it here because it gives the date and build of the NoteTaker/NoteShare iteration that DOES create Scrivener reference-friendly paths (and will allow me to test my proposed DT Pro to NT to Scrivener workflow):

"I’m trying to-lock down the workflow of my novel and here’s something really weird–on my oldest machine there is a copy of NoteTaker from April 2006–never upgraded. Build 1.9.11.

This version of NoteTaker creates entry URLs which Scrivener recognizes as valid. But the most recent copies both NoteTaker and NoteShare, the entry URLs are not recognized by the same version of Scrivener. What happened between then and now? This is the critical link that keeps NT/NS in my workflow chain–is there any way to go back and undo (or debug) whatever happened to entry URLs between last April and now?"

I’ll let the group know what comes of this.

Kevin

Katherine:

Brilliant! Thanks for the tip. Apart from the occasional note made directly in DT Pro, all of my data there is reference only, so this might be just the thing.

Thanks again.

Great, Katherine! Most of what I import into Scr. from DT is purely reference material, so there really is no need to store the file within Scr. itself. Nor to worry about changing the contents. So this tip is greatly appreciated! In fact, you may want to consider posting this in the Tips thread.

Sorry for stating the obvious, but at least when it comes to files that weren’t created in DT -like reference material, pdf, text files etc. Isn’t easiest just to store it externally and index in DT? Then you can drag the file reference from DT directly into Scriv’s references and thus link, open and read from both apps and also keep the file available to spotlight.

E

That assumes a certain amount of preplanning that hasn’t necessarily taken place for any given file. Also, DT has nifty tools for, for instance, slurping in entire archives of technical papers. These work better if you allow DT to decide where to put the stuff.

Katherine

I do this exact thing for pdfs and media/audio files but not for text files. For me, he purpose in having DTPro is to be able to dump things (which are 90% of the time text or web-based files) quickly into DTPro and not have to worry about it any more. Very lazy of me. I don’t download as many pdfs and they have their own separate mode of being organized anyway, so they are stored externally so they are available as needed. But text and web files, etc., go directly into DTPro. I’d go nuts if I had to deal with them in the finder–just too many of them and way to much to organize manually. This was in fact what sent me searching for DT in the first place. DT does a very good job of helping me with this.

I am at the moment trying out Scrivener it it fits in my workflow, so I am not sure if I overlook the obvious, but with my copies of Devonthink Office Pro and Scrivener I have no problems to drag a file from the DT window to the Reference window of Scrivener, where the correct link inside the DT files folder shows up. I can then easily open it by double clicking. That way, I have only one copy of the same file on my hard drive.
In my view, the linking could not be easier, or do I miss something?

Nils